Along with spring practice, one of the annual rites this time of year is suspensions from said practice for various off-field issues.
USF is the latest program to pull the trigger on the non-punitive punitive measure, announcing that three players have been indefinitely suspended by new head coach Willie Taggart. The trio consists of wide receivers Terrence Mitchell and Chris Dunkley, along with running back Bradley Battles.
Taggart said each of the players will have the opportunity to return to the team, but will first have to prove they deserve something that’s a right and not a privilege.
“They could be back. They have to do something, do what it takes to get back out there,” Taggart said by way of Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. “They can be back. They’re not just going to get on this team. You don’t just get on this team any kind of way. They have to make sure they’re doing their part to be on this football team.”
Mitchell last season finished second on the Bulls in receptions (31) and receiving yards (414). Auman notes, however, that the new coaching staff had already decided to move Mitchell to cornerback. The fact that Mitchell will likely miss most if not all of spring practice will certainly hinder his transition to the defensive side of the ball.
Dunkley transferred to USF from Florida in May of 2011 and sat out that season to satisfy NCAA rules. In September of last year, Dunkley, who played in the first five games in 2012, was charged domestic violence in late September and was suspended from the program a day later. It’s unclear if his latest suspension is merely a continuation of the first one or is the result of a new incident.
Each of the past two seasons, Battles has missed game-time due to suspensions.
On off-field incident late last week will cost FAU one of the top offensive linemen in Conference USA moving forward.
Over the weekend, FAU confirmed that Reggie Bain sustained injuries that were described as “not life threatening” in a car accident Friday. However, the non-specified injuries will likely sideline the true junior offensive tackle for the entire 2016 season.
“I have been in constant contact and have visited with both Reggie and his family,” a statement from head coach Charlie Partridge began. “His FAU football family has surrounded him with support and will continue to do so. Out of respect for Reggie, his family and our team, all questions should only be directed to me. I know that inquiries may be well-intentioned, under the HIPPA law, and per the request of Reggie and his family, there is very little I can disclose.”
No details surrounding the accident have been released.
Bain has started all 24 games in his two-year career with the Owls, earning second-team all-conference honors following the 2015 season. Coaches made Bain a preseason all-league selection last month.
It appears someone else will have to ease the load for a newly-minted starter under center and a Heisman Trophy contender, at least in the very early portion of the season.
According to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, Stanford head coach David Shaw has deemed it “unlikely” running back Bryce Love will play in the season opener Friday against Kansas State. Love sustained what was described as a lower-body injury at some point during summer camp.
The good news for the program and the player is, after the opener, the Cardinal goes on a bye before hosting 20th-ranked USC Sept. 17.
Wilner writes that “Love… is considered central to eighth-ranked Stanford’s efforts to take the pressure off new quarterback Ryan Burns and tailback Christian McCaffrey.” Burns has thrown one career pass and will be making his starting debut against K-State.
Last season, Love averaged 7.8 yards on his 29 carries. He added 15 receptions for 250 yards, and three total touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).
South Carolina has seen one of the most experienced members of its secondary not only leave the program but the sport as well.
Rico McWilliams has decided to leave the Gamecocks and give up football, first-year USC head coach Will Muschamp announced Monday. No reason was given for the decision.
McWilliams had started 18 the past three seasons, but began to tumble down the depth chart in the spring and failed to gain much ground in summer camp. He had left camp early on for what were described as personal reasons, but eventually returned.
“I am back with the team and have to stay focused,” the cornerback said just three days ago.
As a redshirt junior last season, McWilliams started 10 of USC’s 12 games, the lone exceptions being the contests against Georgia and Texas A&M. He was credited with 32 tackles, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
Additionally, Muschamp announced that redshirt freshman wide receiver Christian Owens had left his team as well. A three-star 2015 signee, Owens didn’t play as a true freshman.
Via social media, Jim Harbaugh has attempted to walk back some of his strong talk.
Monday, the Michigan head coach was asked to comment on one of his former San Francisco 49er players, Colin Kaepernick, who kicked up quite the controversy this past week by sitting down during the playing of the national anthem to protest what he believes to be the mistreatment of African-Americans in this country. Not surprisingly, the outspoken Harbaugh didn’t mince many words.
“I acknowledge his right to do that, but I don’t respect the motivation or the action,” the coach said.
A short time later, Harbaugh took to Twitter to offer a clarification that he had no issue with Kaepernick’s motivation, merely his methods.